Demonstrators, one of which holds a national flag, gather near a police line during a protest in Almaty, Kazakhstan on Jan 5, 2022. (VLADIMIR TRETYAKOV / AP)
UNITED NATIONS / ALMATY – Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Friday that constitutional order had mostly been restored in the Central Asian country hit by unrest this week, his office quoted him as saying in a statement.
The Kazakh interior ministry said in a separate statement that 26 "armed criminals" had been "liquidated" and more than 3,000 of them detained, while 18 police and national guard servicemen had been killed since the start of the protests.
An anti-terrorist operation has been launched. The forces of law and order are working hard. Constitutional order has largely been restored in all regions of the country.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kazakh president
"An anti-terrorist operation has been launched. The forces of law and order are working hard. Constitutional order has largely been restored in all regions of the country," Tokayev said.
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"Local authorities are in control of the situation. But terrorists are still using weapons and damaging the property of citizens. Therefore, counter-terrorist actions should be continued until the militants are completely eliminated," he added.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called on parties in Kazakhstan to refrain from violence and promote dialogue so as to address the volatile situation.
There have been several contacts between the United Nations and the national authorities, including a call on Thursday morning between the secretary-general's special representative for Central Asia, Natalia Gherman, and Deputy Foreign Minister Akan Rakhmetullin of Kazakhstan, said Stephane Dujarric, the UN spokesman.
"During these exchanges, appeals to exercise restraint, refrain from violence and promote dialogue to address the situation were reiterated by Natalia Gherman on behalf of the secretary-general," Dujarric told a daily press briefing.
But what is clear is that all demonstrations need to be peaceful. People have a right to express their grievances. It needs to be done peacefully. And security forces need to protect that right and show and act with restraint.
Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
On reports of casualties, he said it is hard for the United Nations to confirm them.
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"But what is clear is that all demonstrations need to be peaceful. People have a right to express their grievances. It needs to be done peacefully. And security forces need to protect that right and show and act with restraint," he said.
On the arrival of troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Kazakhstan, Dujarric said the United Nations was informed on Thursday morning by the CSTO of the troop deployment.
"I think, for us, the important thing is that security forces, whether they are Kazakh or whether they are non-Kazakh troops, need to uphold the same human rights standards, which is to show restraint and protect people's rights to demonstrate peacefully," said the spokesman.
Up to 101 international personnel and 530 national staff fall under the UN security arrangements in Kazakhstan. Everyone is safe and accounted for, said Dujarric.